People who have trouble falling asleep at night because they cannot find a comfortable position or those who wake up with stiffness or pain might consider these sleep positions. Everyone is different so these guidelines may not be applicable for all. Note: If you do experience constant pain that does not change no matter what you do, there is most likely an inflammatory component to your injury, please consult with your MD or physiotherapist for their guidance

Neck Problems:

  • Keep neck/ cervical spine in a neutral position (supine/ side-lying).
  • Ensure that your head is properly supported but not excessively forward when lying on your pillow (supine).
  • Use a cervical roll or rolled up towel placed horizontally behind the back of your neck to keep your spine in its natural curvature (supine).
  • Fold up your pillow and place it between your head and the arm on the bottom, this prevents your head from excess tilting downwards (side-lying).
  • For acute stages, I usually would not recommend my clients to sleep on their stomach (prone) since there is less control over how the spine would curve and puts excess strain on neck musculature.

Shoulder/ Elbow Problems:

  • Try to improve your neck posture since this would help with your shoulder condition.
  • Place a pillow under the axilla (armpit) to support your arm properly (supine); you want to prevent the arm from falling backwards when you are asleep.
  • Avoid sleeping on the affected arm or putting excess pressure on the shoulder complex.

Back Problems:

  • Lying on your back is the generally recommended position for back problems.
  • Add pillows underneath your knees to prevent you from rotating to the side (supine).
  • Lying on your side is fine as long as it does not make it worse (side-lying).
  • Sleep on the side that is more comfortable for you since this varies greatly from one person to another (side-lying).
  • Add a pillow/ roll up a towel to place underneath the side of your body to maintain a more neutral spine (side-lying).

Hips / Knee Problems:

  • Place pillows underneath the knees to keep the hips and knees in a resting and well-supported position (supine)
  • Place a pillow between the knees and keep the affected limb on the top to prevent excess pressure on affected area (side-lying)